Here are 10 great tips to keep in mind when you are garage sale decorating:

  1. Go to garage sales with a purpose. Make a list of items you are looking for and look ONLY for those items. If you go looking for things in general you will find yourself buying what you don’t need or cannot use. Never buy anything just because it is a great deal without a specific purpose in mind. If you get into that habit you will find your own home becoming cluttered with items you have wasted your money on and in need of your own sale. Learn to say no.

  3. Look past colors and focus more on the shape and use of items. MANY of my best items have been made even better with a can of spray paint.

  5. Don’t get too put off by scratches, dents, and dings. Sometimes a small chip in a beautiful china plate hung on a wall or a vase that is broken and glued has more character than new.

  7. If you love something but don’t need it for whatever it’s intended use is… get creative and try to find and alternative use for it. I have bought many kitchen containers with broken or missing lids and used them to hold candles or as planters to accent my room. Get your imagination going… think outside the box.

  9. Shop for items to group together. Rather than spread like items throughout a room, group them together in one space for maximum impact.  So in purchasing items, consider what you have already purchased in deciding on your new purchase. You want variation, but stay within a theme.

  11. Don’t be afraid to make changes. If you purchase an item for a specific use and it doesn’t work, move it and make it work in another spot. Don’t get too caught up in feeling you must use it in only one place. I have many items in different rooms than I originally purchased them for.

  13. Decide on a focal point in the room and decorate around that. Find a starting point and make everything work around that. This keeps the task from becoming overwhelming.

  15. Allow some empty spaces between groupings. Not every piece of furniture, every wall, and every corner needs decoration. If you have a sofa with mounds of pillows, decorate the wall above simply and vice versa. Otherwise it becomes too much for the eye to see at once and begins to look more cluttered than decorated. There is a fine line.  Be aware of it.

  17. Inches matter. Keep accessories at varying heights and spaces. Don’t allow groupings to be all one height or create uniform spaces between the items. It takes a lot of time and experimenting to create a casual, thrown together look.

  19. Have fun! When it is all said and done it is about you and what you like. Don’t worry over whether others approve. It is your home, enjoy filling it with things that you love.

Check back soon for: Trena’s Garage Sale Decorating Challenge.


Often the most interesting rooms come together out of the imaginative use of items purchased at garage sales.

The goal in garage sale decorating is not what you might think…. to furnish a room on a budget.  Although that certainly is a huge benefit, the main purpose is to create a room displaying an interesting mix of items and sometimes using them in a way which is different than their original intended use. Decorating in this manner makes a room more interesting by showcasing items given character by their imperfection due to daily use.

The dings and scars that caused someone to get rid of an item is exactly the thing that creates the timeless, casual, thrown together atmosphere that makes a room feel comfortable, warm, and useable. It becomes much more personal than just picking out a room displayed on a showroom floor and then adding items that ”go” together. Often, although well coordinated, this type of decorating makes a room cold and uncomfortable feeling. The goal in garage sale decorating is to make a room one which is interesting and beautiful but lived in. Not one that feels it is only to be looked at.

Garage sale decorating is more of a process than just picking out a room of furniture and adding matching accessories. It takes time and thought and planning.  As a result, the room becomes a collection of diverse items that personally reflect its owner’s personality. It is an adventure which results in a collection of meaningful mementos. Getting up early to hit the sales to find that perfect item for your room is exciting. It makes you want to jump out of bed and get moving. I compare it to going on a treasure hunt. And when you find that item that you absolutely love and fits perfectly into your plan it is so gratifying! Especially knowing how little it cost! I have found myself sitting and staring at my great finds for hours after I place them in my room.

Garage sale decorating also requires you to think outside of the box and get your creative juices flowing. Looking for items that can be used in your room outside of their traditional use causes you to start seeing things from a new perspective. The more you begin this process the more creative you will find yourself becoming in every aspect of your life!

Getting past the, “everything has to match perfectly” and “every item needs to be in perfect shape” mentality will help you create a room that is evolving; a room that can change as easily as your mood. Who you are, your heart and soul will be reflected instead of an accumulation of items that match perfectly and make a pretty room but have no personal meaning to you.

Your home is to enjoy and be treasured. Perhaps like me, you will find what reflects you best is in your neighbors trash!

Check back for: Tips on Garage Sale Decorating